Peltz bows out of circuit clerk’s race

Published 10:10 am Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Democratic candidate for Circuit Clerk dropped out of the race Tuesday with less than two months to go before Election Day.

Election Commissioner Sara Carlson Dionne said Greg Peltz, the former interim circuit clerk who was defeated in a special election last November, has filed paperwork to remove his name from the ballot.

Peltz hinted at but did not not specifically cite a 5-4 Supreme Court ruling in June legalizing gay marriage as his reason to end his run.

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“I am no longer pursuing the circuit clerk’s race at this time due to the recent changes in law,” Peltz said. “This has been on my mind for a while.”

Peltz was appointed by the Warren County Board of Supervisors May 19, 2014 after Shelly Ashley-Palmertree was removed from office. He held the office until December when Jan Daigre was sworn in after defeating Peltz in a special election.

“I really am going to missing being a part county government,” Peltz said.

Peltz said he had not begun campaigning in earnest. He’s put out no signs and according to campaign finance reports filed with the circuit clerk’s office he’s received no financial contributions.

The removal of Peltz name from the November ballot is waiting approval from the Secretary of State’s office, Daigre said.  Once the approval is gained, Daigre will be unopposed on the November ballot.

“I got the notification from the election commissioners also. I’m waiting to hear back from the Secretary of State’s office. Until then, I have an opponent, but I’m encouraged,” Daigre said.

Daigre, a former insurance agent and former school board member, garnered more than 63 percent of the vote to interim clerk Peltz’s 36 percent in a runoff two days before Thanksgiving. Daigre won 19 of 22 precincts in the predictably low-turnout election.

In Mississippi, circuit and chancery clerks are the highest-paying jobs in county government. Base salaries for each are capped at $90,000 by the Legislature. Circuit Clerk maintains all court records, filings, paper and accounts for all court costs, fees, fines, and assessments for Circuit Court, County Court and Youth Court. In addition, the office keeps marriage licenses, jury lists, civil and criminal trial dockets and licenses for doctors and other professionals. During elections, the office serves as the registrar of voters and assists with elections. Candidates for county-level offices turn qualifying papers in to the office.